An emotional letter: why sailing is truly ageless


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Bee_gamaleroThere are occasions when you realize you are lucky, when your job is to take care of boats, sails, the sea. It happened to me when I received Pietro Cesare Gamalero‘s letter in the editorial office, in which, taking a cue from an article we published a few months ago, he recounts his life as an “old sailor,” at 94 years old still in love with going to sea. I bring it to you below, hoping that it will excite you as it did me.(A.d.A. )


In the 1950s...
In the 1950s…

I read in September’s “SAIL” the article describing the excitement experienced by two young boys during a sailing cruise. I think the expression used as the title, ” The thrill of the sea is ageless,” also suits those who,like me, on the opposite side of life’s path, still manage to feel that thrill.
I try to describe my small but long history as a sailor . .
Born in Alexandria, the city in which I live, in November 1920; I am a medical specialist and lecturer in Pediatrics and still practice this magnificent profession. My sailing experience is in 1930, at the age of 10, in Portofino, where my maternal uncle owned, among other things, a 6.50 S.I. (a still sailing example was described a few years ago in SAIL). Then four more boats were moored at the buoys at the south side of the harbor: two 8 mt. S.I., a 6 m. S.1. And an 18-footer.
For years, from June to September, our day was punctuated as follows: in the morning on the beach in Paraggi; in the afternoon on the boat edging in the gulf. In 1938 the uncle died and everything was put up for sale.
University, war, and a long military engagement.
Upon graduation, I am able to resume sailing activities, first with the STAR rented during the summer, then with the purchase of the BECACCINO and with day trips and cruises on friends’ boats. In 1964 the purchase of the first small cabin cruiser, the BALLERINA II of m. 6.40 and in 1966 of the“ALMOST“, wooden sloop, RORC Class III, mt. 8.46, designed by L. Giles and built by Sangermani in 1957: first summer cruises to the Tuscan Archipelago and Corsica with my beloved wife Lella, a generous and tireless companion of sometimes difficult and uncomfortable sailings, able to stay for hours at the helm.
In 1972 the purchase of the “MANIA,” a 10.60 mt sloop: Sardinia, Argentario, Ponza, Ventotene; then the French Riviera, the Calanques, Marseilles, Port Camargue.
In 1978 on his nephew’s MIKADO, for 15 days, the Gulf of Suez from Port Said to Hurghaba (only pleasure boat moored).

...and today!
…and today!

In 1979 I bought theALPA 42, KETCH of mt. 12.40, designed by S&S and kept for 24 years.
In 1992 the southern coast of Turkey from Bodrum to Finike, Cyprus, Port Said, Suez.
In 2005, the Oceanis 47/3, after four years with the intention (and family pressure) to “hang up the rudder.”
A year of nostalgia, partly mitigated by outings with friends, then the withdrawal and the purchase of the Golden Lion, old but in good order, very healthy, sturdy, with which I can still, at 94 years of age, gratify the desire to experience the sea and sailing.
For my little patients, after the appropriate medical prescriptions, there is always an exhortation: learn to sail.
This is my little, long story as an old sailor, old but still at the helm.
Peter Caesar Gamalero




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